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Two Ironton utilities set to increase

Water usage and sanitation to go up beginning in January

Beginning in January, Ironton residents will notice their utility bills increase. Two of the city’s utility fees are scheduled to increase beginning in January 2011.

The city’s sanitation fee is scheduled to increase from $11 to $11.50 per month and the city’s water usage fee will increase from $5 to $5.30 per thousand gallons used.

The Ironton City Council passed the water fee increase ordinance unanimously on Feb. 26, 2009. The ordinance states that before then, the water fee was last adjusted in 2001. The ordinance cites increases in water operation, production and distribution costs as the reason for the fee increase. At the time the ordinance was passed, it raised the rate from $4.40 per thousand gallons of water used to $4.70 and required that the usage fee increase to its current $5 per thousand gallons beginning in January of this year.

To compare, the City of Ashland charges a water usage fee of anywhere from $1.84 to $3.74 per thousand gallons. The higher the consumption the lower the price is.

Hecla Water association customers pay about $17 for the first 1,500 gallons of water. Anything over 1,500 gallons is $8.50 per 1,000 gallons.

The Ironton City Council passed the sanitation fee increase ordinance with a 6-1 vote, also on Feb. 26, 2009. The ordinance states that the operation costs for sanitation have increased and that the last time the fee was increased was in 1998.

Sanitation superintendent Mike Pemberton said the fee increase is to cover increased fuel costs to haul the garbage. It will also cover the increased fee charged by the transfer station, where the garbage is hauled as well as the costs of tires and maintenance.

Even with the fee increase, Pemberton said, “it’s still cheaper than some of the other local cities around.”

To compare, the City of Portsmouth charges $13.86 per month and $5 for each additional can used. Huntington, W.Va. charges its residents $15 per month.

Ironton’s sanitation department doesn’t put a limit on the number of trashcans or bags it picks up, Pemberton said.

“We haul an average of 12 tons a day, that’s with two trucks,” he said.